Decentralized finance (DeFi) aims to recreate financial services on blockchain networks to make them more efficient, equitable, and secure. Find out our pick of the 13 Best DeFi projects that are gaining adoption.
Our review explores 13 best DeFi projects driving adoption across lending, trading, staking, and other areas:
- Aave for lending, Curve for stablecoin trading
- Uniswap is the most used DEX
- GMX for perpetual swaps, Synapse for cross-chain bridges
- Lido and Rocket Pool for liquid staking
- Radiant for multi-chain lending
- Chancer for prediction markets
- Metacade as a Web3 hub
- Pendle for yield exposure tools
- Gains Network for tokenized derivatives
- SushiSwap is an innovative DEX.
Key statistics highlight adoption, maturity, and momentum based on factors like total value locked, user activity, revenue growth, and development trajectory. While risks exist, these projects represent promising opportunities to improve financial services through blockchain technology, pending thorough due diligence.
Project Risk Analysis Models
As the number of best DeFi projects multiply, better frameworks are needed to analyze risks spanning smart contract code, token engineering, governance structures, and financial sustainability.
Emerging models combine multi-dimensional qualitative assessments with data-driven valuations of cash flow viability.
For example, Token Terminal provides in-depth analysis and risk ratings across code quality, decentralization, team connections, and monetary policy. Expect more advanced rating systems as the field matures.
Our Evaluation Criteria
We selected these 13 best DeFi projects based on several key criteria:
- Innovation – Unique value propositions and new takes on DeFi
- Adoption – User bases, total value locked, transaction volumes
- Tokenomics – Utility and incentive structures of native tokens
- Security – Code audits and hacking resilience
- Potential – Room for future growth and mainstream use cases
The Best DeFi Projects Comparison
|Leading lending platform with high liquidity
|Top DEX for stablecoin trades with asset focus
|Most popular DEX for retail and new listings
|Established leader in perpetual swaps platform
|Fast, inexpensive cross-chain transfers
|Largest and most trusted liquid staking solution
|Decentralized liquid staking with higher yields
|Bridging-based lending across multiple chains
|Early mover in blockchain prediction markets
|Rapidly emerging Web3 community metaverse hub
|Novel yield exposure management tools
|Access to tokenized traditional asset derivatives
|Leading decentralized exchange and yield farm
The Best 13 DeFi Projects That Worth To Invest in 2024, And Why
Aave – Leading DeFi Lending & Borrowing
Aave is a decentralized lending platform enabling crypto-backed loans and interest yield on deposits. With $6.4 billion total value locked across 7 chains, Aave offers the highest liquidity and asset variety for lending/borrowing.
Why Invest in Aave?
Its dominance, variety of over 70 collateral options, and feature set, including flash loans, make Aave a low-risk way to gain exposure to the expanding DeFi lending/borrowing vertical. AAVE token holders also receive discounted fees and governance rights.
Curve – Top Decentralized Exchange
Curve is a DEX optimized for stablecoin trading using algorithms to minimize slippage and bootstrap liquidity. It handles $1 billion in daily volume and has attracted $15 billion in total value locked.
Why Invest in Curve?
As decentralized exchanges expand, Curve’s specialization gives it an enduring edge. Its CRV token rewards liquidity providers with trading fees and governance potential as institutional interest is surging.
Uniswap – The Gateway DEX
Uniswap pioneered automated market making protocols. With over 150 million swaps processed worth $660 billion, it is the most used DEX and prime exchange for new listings.
Why Invest in Uniswap?
With deep integration across wallets and 150+ DeFi apps, Uniswap is the gateway exchange driving retail DeFi adoption. UNI has intrinsic value expected to persist even as the DEX vertical sees rising competition.
GMX – Leading Perpetuals Exchange
GMX enables up to 50x leverage trading on perpetual swaps for major crypto assets. With $126 billion value locked and 309K+ active traders monthly, it oversees $1.4 billion in monthly volume.
Why Invest in GMX?
Perpetuals trading drives platform income, and with deep liquidity pools already built, first-mover advantage makes GMX’s growth runway substantial as it monetizes via token buybacks.
Synapse Protocol – Top Cross-Chain Bridge
Synapse Protocl enables seamless asset transfers between blockchains to access liquidity and applications. With 15,000+ active users monthly, it has bridged $121 million in assets across 10+ networks.
Why Invest In Synapse?
Cross-chain interoperability unlocks the true potential of DeFi. As blockchain networks grow more specialized, Synapse’s bridging utility ONLY increases over time.
Lido Finance – Leading Liquid Staking
Lido Finance enables staking crypto to earn yields without locking assets. With 150,000+ active users monthly, Lido has staked over $15 billion in ETH, offering 5.4% APY to depositors.
- 20.83B total value locked
- $15B+ ETH staked
- 150K+ monthly users
- 5.4% APY staking rewards
- Leading staking solution
Why Invest in Lido?
By making staking liquid and accessible for Billions in assets, Lido’s innovation is indispensable for proof-of-stake blockchains. As use expands, LDO captures highly scalable value.
Rocket Pool – Decentralized Staking Marketplace
Rocket Pool enables running Ethereum staking nodes with only 16 ETH deposits. It also provides liquidity by letting users earn staking yields without locking assets.
Why Invest in Rocket Pool?
Well-designed architecture makes Rocket Pool a lower-risk way to earn yield on ETH. As major institutions enter staking, Rocket Pool’s value accrues via RPL incentives and protocol fees.
Radiant Finance – Cross-Chain DeFi Loans
Radiant connects isolated DeFi lending markets across chains using asset-backed tokens for multi-chain collateral and yields.
- $17M borrowed, $62M supplied
- 2,300+ monthly users
- Up to 15% borrow APY
- Expanding platform integration
Why Invest in Radiant?
Truly chain-agnostic borrowing/lending requires bridging solutions. By expanding liquidity using bridges, Radiant carves out a defensible, high-growth niche going forward.
Metacade – Community-Owned Metaverse Hub
Metacade delivers play-to-earn gaming, events, networking, education, and a community launchpad for funding next-gen Web3 games.
Why Invest in Metacade?
The intersection of gaming, blockchain, and metaverse communities makes Metacade a project to watch as it practically encapsulates the crypto growth thesis – owned by users who collectively benefit most.
Pendle Finance – Multi-Dimensional Yield Exposure
Pendle enables advanced yield-generating strategies by splitting yield-bearing tokens into their tokenized principal value and interest yield.
- $112M market capitalization
- $300M+ total value locked
- Unique tokenization model
- Advanced DeFi concept with traction
Why Invest in Pendle?
Unique tokenized design brings sophisticated tools resembling traditional derivatives to DeFi, where Pendle has first-mover advantage in a sector with immense upside as yield aggregation matures.
Gains Network – Tokenized Asset Derivatives
Gains issues tokenized derivatives enabling leveraged trading on traditional stocks, forex, commodities and indices through perpetual swaps.
- $121M market capitalization
- Access to leveraged asset trading
- Up to 150x margin trading
- Early DeFi derivatives developer
Why Invest in Gains Network?
By merging CeFi and DeFi, Gains taps into a $100 trillion derivatives market. Its perpetual swaps model is poised to attract liquidity as asset tokenization via oracles gains reliability.
SushiSwap – Leading DEX & Yield Farm
SushiSwap is a top DEX offering trading and yield farming with over $1 billion value locked currently. It pioneered innovations like liquidity provider rewards.
Why Invest in SushiSwap?
Despite high competition, SushiSwap maintains leadership with established liquidity and tokenomics rewarding liquidity providers. Development is accelerating across blockchain ecosystems to deepen yield strategies.
The transformation of finance by blockchain is accelerating, making DeFi protocols like these investment opportunities with sizable long-term upside if executed well. However, conducting due diligence is crucial before investing, given smart contract risks and token design pitfalls in such a cutting-edge domain. By identifying the most credible projects in terms of community, transparency, and vision, returns can potentially be massive, given the scale of the value proposition.